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Downtown to host annual Wine and Food tasting event

By Staff | Nov 14, 2008

The Community Redevelopment Agency’s popular downtown Wine and Food Tasting event is returning Saturday for the fourth year of pairing select red and white wines with food.

Retail stores and restaurants throughout downtown are teaming up to offer this unique tasting experience.

Much like the CRA’s Red, White & Brew and the International Beer and Food Festival, a “passport” system will be utilized that enables the holder to visit all 16 locations with 32 businesses participating.

Unlike the other two events, this tasting takes place a little earlier — running from 3-7 p.m. — and caters somewhat to the holiday shopping season by pairing stores with restaurants.

“It is not a late night entertainment thing, but more of a quality tasting event and a sneak peak for the Christmas holiday season,” said Helen Ramey CRA’s marketing director. “This really kicks off the holiday season and showcases how different the stores are in downtown from the big box stores.”

Jane Hartz, owner of the June’s Hallmark in the Town Center, thinks the high level of foot traffic from the tasting is invaluable.

“A thousand people are going to walk through our store,” she said. “We not only get traffic for that day, but a lot of repeat traffic for the store.”

Hartz, whose store will be paired with Pete’s Philly Steaks, praised the efforts of the CRA to showcase the downtown corridor as a viable dining and shopping option.

“They do a marvelous job for downtown retailers,” Hartz said. “They get the people into our shops.”

The $20 passport includes food and wine at all locations, complimentary trolley service like past tasting events and a commemorative wine glass to use for the samplings.

There are only 1,000 tickets available for the event, making it more unique and exclusive than the other downtown tasting festivals.

Ramey warned the early start time dictates arriving earlier to ensure there is enough time to visit all the locations.

Ultimately, though, the event is aimed at “Keeping it in the Cape,” so to speak, especially during the holidays when the malls and shopping plazas on the other side of the bridge draw big crowds.

“We’re focusing on all the retail locations in downtown, but we’re also showcasing the restaurants. You can discover the unique stores and have a delicious afternoon,” Ramey said.

Check-in booths will open at 2:30 p.m. and are located in Club Square and Big John’s. Tickets are still available at a number of locations. For more information, contact the offices of the CRA at 549-5615.